Many people can imagine coming home to a dog. They’re usually at full attention waiting for you at the door just ready to pounce on their unsuspecting owner. They can’t wait to give out lots of licks and get lots of pets.

Cat owners might not have the same experience as a dog owner. Cats typically aren’t waiting for you at the door. This has made some people say that cats don’t care much for their owners. Do cats get lonely, and if so, how do they show it? Today we take a look at your cat’s need for socialization.

Do Cats Get Lonely?

Dog owners know that their dogs depend on them pretty much for everything. Dog owners have to take their dogs out to potty or exercise; they also have to make sure their dog is stocked up with food and water and activities to occupy their mind.

Cats do not need as much attention. You can stock a cat with food and water, and they’ll pretty much take care of the rest, right? Dogs have a reputation for being a bit needier than cats, but do cats get lonely too? The answer is undoubtedly yes.

Cats don’t show affection the same way dogs do. Large jungle cats are used to an isolated lifestyle, but domesticated cats need to socialize. A cat may show affection by sitting near you or having you give them a couple of rubs. This is their preferred way to show love.

If you are not around to give your cat the attention they want, they’ll get lonely. A cat doesn’t show their loneliness in the same way a dog would. Where a dog might start chewing on things around the house or bark incessantly, a cat will act differently. A cat who is left alone too often can start getting stressed out and anxious. They can also begin scratching at things around the house or even using your bed as a litter box. This is an inconvenience most people would prefer to avoid, so don’t let your cat get lonely. But how long is too long?

How Long Can I Leave My Cat Alone?

For most cats, you should be able to leave them at home for at least a little bit before any problems start to arise. If your cat doesn’t let you leave the house at all, they may have a more significant issue than a bit of loneliness. You should probably consider contacting your vet if your cat doesn’t let you leave to get the mail.

For most other typical cats, you should be able to leave them alone for at least a little bit. Typically, a cat can be alone for one hour for each month of life. So a five-month-old cat should be able to be at home for about five hours. The caveat here is that you should not leave a cat you just adopted alone for very long. If you just adopted a three-month-old cat, one hour is all you should leave them alone for.

Also, never leave your cat alone for more than a day without having someone check on them. You need to make sure that they have fresh water, fresh food, and that there is nothing in the house they can hurt themselves with. You also need to provide your cat with something to do. They’re not just going to sit there, so make sure you give them stimulating toys or high posts near a window to keep them entertained.

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Lonely

A lonesome dog is pretty easy to spot. They’ll get into lots of trouble, chew on everything, and cause a lot of commotion. But a lonely cat is not going to do the same things or be as obvious.

Lonely cats might try to get your attention. They’ll sit near you when you come home. They might even sit on whatever you’re doing. If you find your cat sitting on your computer keyboard, take that as a sign that they want some love.

A lonely cat might also start getting into trouble. They might begin with knocking things off the kitchen counter or into the sink. You might even find potted plants knocked over onto the floor. The amount of trouble they are getting into directly represents how lonely they may be.

In more extreme cases, a lonely cat may start marking with urine or showing aggression. Cats do crave socialization, so be sure you are setting that time aside to relax with your cat.

How To Help a Cat That’s Lonely

It’s all about providing stimulation. If your cat is going to be alone for a while, make sure you leave cats with lots to do:

  • This can be in the form of toys, cat trees, and other self-play toys.
  • You can leave your TV or the radio on, too. That reminds your cat of you!
  • If your cat is attached to you and affectionate, leave a worn shirt or dry towel for them to lay on or cuddle.
  • If you’re gone for long periods regularly, consider getting a cat sitter to visit your cat while you’re away.
  • Does your cat do well with other pets? Getting a second cat is one-way owners keep their cats from becoming lonely.

In the end, your cat wants to be around you! So be sure to take lots of time for play and one-on-one time together.